S.E.M. Ensemble

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(L-R) Petr Kotik, George Lewis, and Jiří Rožeň at Breakfast at the Imperial Hotel in Ostrava (Czech Republic)

Ostrava Days 2023 — Reviews, Photographs, and Comments

English Language Reviews

Kurt Gottschalk's review in BachTrack (August 30th, 2023):

Kurt Gottschalk's review of Bernhard Lang's opera Playing Trump, for BachTrack:

Martin Longley for All About Jazz (October 13th, 2023):

Czech Language Reviews

check back soon

Italian Language Reviews

Gianluigi Mattietti writing in MusicPaper:

Comments from Participants and Supporters:

Hi, Renata!

It's been more than a month since we saw each other in Ostrava. I still have such an amazing feeling about the experience, about the whole festival that I can't resist writing to you and thanking you, Petr and your whole team for such a wonderful music and cultural event, that placed Ostrava on the world cultural scene. At no other festival before, have I felt better or more taken care of as a performer. To see and hear other festival concert was also something I enjoyed very much. The atmosphere blew me away, and last but not least, all the opportunities to meet other performers, sitting together with them over a meal, etc., etc.,,, those meetings are very valuable and inspiring for me.

The fact that I am from Ostrava adds to it, the warm feeling and pride, being in the middle of the post-industrial spaces like Trojhalí [Triple Hall], although, of course, I can’t credit myself for it. It must not have been easy to build a festival of contemporary music in our hometown!

We live in such a divided society today, and with your project, I had the feeling of belonging somewhere, of tolerance and freedom and I want in particular to thank you both for this unforgettable impression that still lingers inside of me.

Kamila Mazalová

[The soprano Kamila Mazalová participated in Ostrava Days Festival 2023 as a member of Canticum Ostrava choir]


I wholeheartedly endorse the Ostrava Manifesto as it seems the vast majority of music programs cater to people whose taste in music comes more from what they’ve been told is significant or from what they are more familiar with than any desire to experience something new. Their usual experience of music is to attend any event with closed minds and ears. I have too often witnessed audiences attending a concert because they recognized the performer like John Cage  and by the time the performance was over the hall was mostly deserted. Sadly, I have also overheard members of the audience pride themselves on enduring a concert rather than immersing themselves in the experience and often wonder if they find their lives something to endure rather than to enjoy. Obviously this is nothing new as the audience reaction to Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring in 1913 will testify, but did generations need pass before it became acceptable to present as part of an orchestral program without fear of being offensive?  That the music of countless composers past and present be given an opportunity to be heard because of the resolve and efforts of a group in particular like the S.E. M. Ensemble and your personal involvement in keeping the line moving that constitutes a mission to defy classification and just let the music be heard as it is intended the way it is intended without the dictates of an industry saying otherwise is to be commended with great appreciation. Thank you for being a voice in the wilderness and you can continue to receive my support in the future as I am able.

With everlasting gratitude,

Stephen Deutsch

[Mr. Stephen Deutsch is a long-time supporter of The S.E.M. Ensemble and of Ostrava Days]